Pets don’t always get along. And that’s why we understand your concern if you’re thinking about introducing your Shiba Inu to your feline pal. Shibas are like humans, in the sense that they come with different personalities. Some get along with others right away, while others take time to learn all there is to learn about their new roommates, before welcoming them.
What we’re saying is that it might take time. The best approach is to be patient and introduce them to each other in controlled sessions. Also, if you want them to be lifelong pals, it’s best to introduce them while they are still young.
Do Shiba Inus See Cats as Prey?
For starters, you have to remember that this breed was purposefully bred to hunt fast-moving prey that are fast on the ground. Even though cats are fast and relatively small, Shibas are usually intelligent enough to not view them as prey.
But that’s not to say that their prey drive won’t kick in the first time they lay their eyes on your feline companion. There’s no doubt they’ll chase the cat around the yard in the beginning, unless you train them.
If you’re trying to figure out whether or not your Shiba will be gentle and welcoming, should you decide to adopt a cat, these are the four major aspects to think about:
The 4 Things to Take Into Consideration
1. Are They Aggressive Around Other Pets?
Not all Shibas are open to sharing their personal spaces with other pets. They are not exactly the most affectionate breeds and are always ready to protect their territories. Even if they don’t feel like “hunting” your cat, that prey drive might still compel them to treat your tabby pal as something to chase.
2. Have They Interacted with Cats Before?
If that’s going to be the first time your Shiba Inu sees a cat in his life, your work is cut out for you. Shibas that have interacted with cats before have an easier time adapting to their presence in a home.
3. How Old Is Your Shiba Inu?
Compared to adults, the younglings are often more open to exploring new things and situations. And that’s why it’s easier for them to understand each other and even spend time together. Now, we’re not trying to imply that an adult Shiba will never be open to the idea of sharing a home with an adult cat. It’s very possible, especially if you sign them up for socialization classes. They might fall back into old habits, but if you’re consistent and patient, you’ll eventually curb the problem.
For the training to be effective, you’ll have to incorporate positive reinforcement. Use treats and words of encouragement. And keep your commands simple, if you don’t want anything to be lost in the translation. Commands such as “sit” and “no” are commonly used in training because they are easy to comprehend.
4. What’s Your Shiba Inu’s Personality Like?
Generally, most of these dogs are intelligent but stubborn. They also like playing the dominant role in any social setting and are more assertive. These are the traits that make them bullies whenever small animals are around. That’s why you have to socialize your Shiba from a very young age. Teaching an old Shiba new tricks is certainly going to be an uphill climb.
The cat’s personality is also a factor in this equation. If they are more sociable, friendly, and laid back, your work will be easier.
What’s the Best Way to Introduce a Shiba Inu to a Cat?
Patience is key in this situation, as slow and steady moves will get you the desired results. The following are some of the steps that have proven to be effective:
Give Them Both Personalized Items to Smell
Dogs have a very powerful sense of smell. While smelling a personalized item, they’ll be able to gather more information as opposed to when they see the said item or taste it. Cats also have a superior sense of smell, in comparison to ours. Using these items will help your pets get used to one another’s scents, making the introduction easier.
Create a Neutral Space Meeting Space
They’ll both have to meet at some point, right? But seeing as they can’t be left in a room alone during their first encounter, you’ll have to create a space that allows both of them to see each other, without being able to get too close. You could put them both in separate mesh-pet carriers, before introducing them.
Give Your Cat Your Shiba’s Favorite Toy
They say sharing is caring. Therefore, you have to make your Shiba understand that his toy is safe, as long as they let the cat play with it for a little while. The toy can be anything from a stuffed animal, a ball, or just a rope. If you notice that they are slowly starting to show signs of aggression, nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand.
Open Your Shiba’s Carrier
Let the dog out, so that you can see how it reacts to the cat. If they are not charging or barking right away, that’s a good sign. Don’t forget to put a leash on, as things can go south in a split second. And be very observant because their body language is an important tool of communication during these introductory meetings.
Open the Cat’s Carrier
Letting the cat stay in the carrier for an extended period of time is not advisable, because they’ll start feeling stressed.
So let them out and take note of your Shiba’s reaction. If they seem excited to meet their new roommate, that’s another good sign. But you still have to manage the excitement, as over-excitement could lead to other problems. Excessive whining, tail wagging, not adhering to common commands, and a reduced attention span, are all signs of an over-excited Shiba.
How Do You Know Your Shiba Won’t Harm Your Cat?
After several sessions, you’ll be able to tell if your Shiba is comfortable around your cat or not. They’ll even start playing together, without you having to worry about things getting out of hand. Shibas rarely bark or growl in the presence of family. So that’s one of the signs to look out for.
Shibas and cats can get along on the condition that they are socialized from a young age. The kittens and pups are always easy to handle, as they are more curious and ready to learn about the world around them. Adult Shibas can still have safe interactions with adult cats, but not in the absence of supervision. They can only be left alone after they’ve successfully gone through the requisite socialization sessions.
Featured Image Credit: Egrigorovich, Shutterstock